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Sitting in Buenos Aires’ Villa de Voto jail, Labor Leader Cipriano Reyes (rhymes with Asia’s) might have been excused for wondering just what had hit him. Most publicized catch in the abortive assassination plot against President Perón (TIME, Oct. 4), he was scheduled for trial next month with eleven other defendants. Meanwhile he was held in solitary; only his wife and daughter could visit his cell.

Before he became an able and aggressive labor leader, Cipriano Reyes was a circus tight-rope walker, packinghouse worker and longshoreman. An early Peronista, he helped the president to power, later he broke with Perón. Through his leadership of the small but active Laborista party he turned to fighting Peronista control of labor. From Buenos Aires last week leaked an account of how a man with such savvy and background could be sucked into a futile conspiracy: Perón’s police had mousetrapped him.

About two months ago, according to anti-Perón sources in Buenos Aires, Air Force Lieutenants “Puig” and “Pereyra” sought out Reyes and a Laborista colleague, Dr. Walter Beveragge Alfende. (Puig was really Police Lieut. Walter Pereyra; Pereyra was Detective Inspector Salomon Wasserman.) The officers had spun a yarn of a highly organized air force plot to do away with Perón. Laborista political backing was solicited. To overcome Reyes’ natural skepticism, conspiratorial meetings were held in the Avenida Quintana headquarters of the Civil Aviation General Administration; Air Force General Gregorio Velez, boss of civil aviation, gave a masterly performance as leader of the plot. Laboristas took the bait.

October 12 was set as the day of the coup, and General Velez ordered a final meeting at headquarters for the night of Sept. 23. That afternoon Reyes got a tipoff, frantically called an emergency meeting at home to warn his associates. But there was a double double-cross and the police sprang the trap then & there. The name of John Griffiths, onetime U.S. embassy worker, was tossed in to give the conspiracy some foreign color. He had once been friendly with Reyes.

When the dust settled, Perón was solider than ever; the troublesome Laboristas were shattered, their top men in jail.

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